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Thursday: Creative Pinellas’ greatest hits show

Bill DeYoung



Dancer Charlotte Johnson will perform "Beyond Words," choreographed by Paula Kramer. Photo: Tom Kramer

In its four years of existence, the nonprofit Creative Pinellas agency has awarded monetary grants to something like 60 area artists – in both the visual and performing worlds – and given countless others the opportunity to share their work with an eager community, to learn and to grow.

That’s a success story worth celebrating.

The 2019 Arts Annual Fundraising Gala & Art Show, happening Thursday at the Creative Pinellas headquarters and gallery in Largo, will bring together 31 of these grantees, working in all disciplines and all media. According to event curator Danny Olda, the organization’s manager of Content and Engagement, most of them actually volunteered to participate.

“It sort of validates why you do the job in the first place if they come back to support you,” he says.

“Cling Onto Iced Coffee,” installation by Saumitra Chandratreya (2018 Emerging Artist Grant )

The three-hour soiree will make use of every inch of gallery space, with the concurrent entertainment including dance, music, theater and literary performances (a VIP ticket purchase gets you an extra hour of specialness)

The entertainers include dramatist Roxanne Fay; dancer Charlotte Johnson (performing choreography by Paula Kramer); trombonist David Manson with his jazz trio, EMIT; poet and author Tenea D. Johnson; filmmaker and political performance artist Victoria Jorgensen; and composer Tom Sivak, who’ll play piano for five vocalists, performing selections from his Sunshine City: The Musical.

Visual artists with work featured include Mark Aeling, Kristy Andersen, Nathan Beard, Elizabeth Barenis, Daniel Barojas, Saumitra Chandratreya, Michael Conway, Brandie Dziegiel, Marquis Floyd, Donald Gialanella, Kevin Grass, Jason Hackenwerth, Shannon Leah Halversen, Reid Jenkins, Kenny Jensen, Yael Kelley, Steven Kenny, Cora Marshall, Mickett/Stackhouse Studio, Rose Marie Prins, Babs Reingold, Ari Robinson, Jonathan Talit, Catherine Woods and others. The exhibition itself will be remain, open to the public starting Friday, until Nov. 24.

“Pool View” by Elizabeth Barenis (2017 Emerging Artist Grant)

Thursday’s jam-packed event, with a buffet of hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar, is not only a showcase of success, but a way for those with an interest in furthering the arts in Pinellas County to help with Creative Pinellas’ mission.

Which, Olda reminds us, is “really to support artists, to help them out – whether it’s to help them succeed as artists, as businesses, as they work to improve their craft. Another part of it is to support the area. Pinellas County is increasingly becoming an arts and cultural destination, and we want to do our part to help make it that – locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

“And the third part is making arts accessible to everybody, whether it’s through the events we have throughout the year that are free of charge, or our Arts Catalyst grant, which is created to help kids go to an arts summer camp, who otherwise might be able to afford it.

“I feel like I have to mention all three, because they’re all related to each other in one way or another. But they each serve a different audience in connecting with the arts in a meaningful way.”

Tickets and additional information here.

Filmmaker and performance artist Victoria Jorgensen.


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